The proposed deadlines would have pushed field collection through the end of October, with the apportionment data – the population count used to determine the number and population of each state’s congressional district – presented to the president by April 30, 2021 instead of the end of the year. However, Congress never officially granted the legal extensions, and in late July the director of the Census Bureau, Steven Dillingham, a representative appointed by President Donald Trump, began to back off the requested extension of the office. At the beginning of August the Office officially announced that it canceled its renewal request and would provide allotment data to Trump by the end of the year.
The reversal enraged local authorities, community groups, and pundits who warned of the prospect of a hasty and deeply erroneous census that would affect everything from dividing the house to redistributing to how approximately $ 1.5 trillion in federal spending would be addressed over the next decade.
“The court’s decision ensures that our underrepresented and most vulnerable communities are not put at a disadvantage by an unfair and incomplete census,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Civil Rights Lawyers’ Committee – one of the parties that sued across the timeline – said in a statement. “The court’s decision rejects the actions of the Trump administration in the 11th hour and makes it clear that our democracy aims to achieve a complete and fair census of all people in our country.”
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh Okay cites these concerns about an imprecise and incomplete count when expanding the count.
The battle over deadlines for the census is part of a multi-front legal battle that has erupted over the ten-year census. In a July memorandum, Trump attempted to exclude undocumented immigrants from the number of appointments, which experts questioned as unconstitutional and practically difficult. A separate jury blocked this memorandum earlier this month, and the Justice Department recently asked for an opinion Speedy Appeal Process from the US Supreme Court.
A report published earlier in the week The Inspectorate General of the Department of Commerce noted that the decision to accelerate the census schedule “was not made by the Census Bureau” and that “it increases the risk of a full and accurate 2020 census”. The Commerce Department oversees the Census Bureau.
“Senior Bureau career officials noted that this decision was due to the administration no longer supporting the extension of the schedule, but ultimately lacked insight into that decision-making process,” the report said. “The Bureau leaders continued to believe that legal renewal was preferable and would give the Bureau the best chance of producing a high quality, usable census.”
As of Wednesday, 96.6 percent of American households were counted, according to the office: With two thirds self-response and 30.3 percent follow-up from office workers. Experts say that even a small number of Americans who are not counted are deeply problematic, and keeping the final percentage points is one of the most challenging tasks.
At a House Oversight Committee hearing earlier this month, John Thompson, former director of the Census Bureau from 2013 to 2017, raised serious concerns about the census. “I am extremely concerned that the steps that have been taken to cut off data collection activities for the 2020 census will adversely affect the quality and accuracy of the 2020 census,” Thompson said, expressing concerns about the effectiveness of the non-response tracking in the cut schedule , along with concerns about reduced data processing times.
J. Christopher Mihm, an official with the Government Accountability Office, also said it could be dangerous to miss a small percentage of people in the census. (The GAO published a report in late August about how the compressed timeframe risked an accurate count.)
“The Census Bureau will do a census,” Mihm said during the survey. “It’s a question, and the risk is, what’s going to be lost? Will it be a less than historically acceptable count in terms of completeness and accuracy? ”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.